LOGAN — A 33-year-old Hyrum man has waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman last November. Sterling B. Francis accepted a plea deal after his two-day jury-trial next month was cancelled because of the threat of the novel coronavirus.
Sterling was in 1st District Court Monday morning for a final pre-trial conference. He appeared by video from jail, pleading guilty to one count of domestic violence assault, amended to a class A misdemeanor.
According to Cache County Sheriff’s deputies, Sterling got into a verbal argument with the victim, at her home on November 3. The two individuals, who previously had a relationship, had been drinking when the fight became physical.
The woman told deputies how Sterling slammed her face down, while threatening her. He also grabbed her face and head butted her, giving her a bloody nose. The abuse continued as he picked her up by her hair and slammed her into a wall multiple times.
Deputies reported the woman had multiple bruises on both arms and face when they arrived on the scene. Sterling was taken into custody at the time, being held on $10,260 bond.
During Monday’s court appearance, Judge Brian Cannell explained to Sterling that Matthew B. Durrant, Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, had ordered all jury trials suspended until after June 1.
Public defender Ryan Holdaway explained that they had worked out the plea agreement, based on the condition that Sterling be allowed to be released until sentencing. Prosecutors also agreed to drop three remaining charges.
Judge Cannell said he would allow Sterling to be released as long as he had no contact with the victim in the case. He scheduled sentencing for June 8.